Dwight Howard pays hospital visits to Kobe

Dwight Howard had been there. To the operating table, to the dark place a career-threatening injury can plunge a superstar into, and down the long, frustrating road that comes next.

He'd been there, and so he is determined to be there for Kobe Bryant as he goes through the same experience now, trying to come back from a completely torn Achilles tendon.

Saturday afternoon Howard visited Bryant at the hospital before and after he'd had surgery. And it won't be the last time.

"I know how he feels," Howard told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "It hurts. I just wanted to be there."

Bryant mentioned the meeting on his Twitter feed after the Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night.

"D12 was a beast," Bryant tweeted. "He stopped by the hospital twice yesterday to check on big bro. that's luv #countond12"

Howard had 26 points and 17 rebounds in the win over the Spurs.